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Meeting our camper van, trips to Oak Lawn and Evanston

written by Birgit

sunny 10 °C
View Around the world 2016/17 on dreiumdiewelt's travel map.

After two days of pretty much ignoring the fact that there is a camper van sitting in the driveway that actually belongs to us, Sunday morning was the time for a first date. And the first impression was very positive. Max and I tried out the pop up roof and tested out the bed up there. Max liked it up there immediately and proclaimed that he will be sleeping up there. In parallel I was constantly thinking on how to best protect him from falling down from there while he'd be sleeping there. And while we were making ourselves comfortable, Sam started checking the technical features of the van - which seem to be all in excellent condition.

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Sunday afternoon was dedicated to meeting Carol, Pete and Susie with her kids in Oak Lawn. And Max was fascinated to say the least. He was greeted with a present: a new bicycle in 'Cars' design for him to use throughout our trip. And he went off right away to test it out and went into fast races with Susie's kids. And there were lots of additional presents for all of us: Carol had been collecting all basics for us during the last couple of months such that we'll be able to outfit our van with almost all we need: blankets, sheets, towels, kitchenware, BBQ utensils, a folding table and a big box filled with toys for Max... What a treat! But then we also got treated to excellent food and simply could not resist to even clean out the bowls with strawberries and the chocolate cream. And Max had so much fun with Susie's kids that after just 5 minutes in the car, he soundly fell asleep.

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Monday morning was then dedicated to sorting out what should go where in the van. At first sight, the van looks really big. At second sight, I started wondering how to fit all in though... But I guess we'll figure it out over the next couple of days and within the next two weeks, everything will have found it's place.

At noon we were invited to Janis' office in Evanston to meet her and her colleagues for lunch. What a breathtaking view they have from their office! And while having lunch, we had great conversations. The fascination about German laws in respect to getting a year of parenting time off is understandable considering that in the US in small companies women might not even be entitled to take maternity leave... Legislation can make enormous differences! And subsidies as well - hearing that we paid less than 200€ per month for Max' day care even when he was less than a year old must sound like heaven in an environment where you're not able to take maternity leave and day care will cost easily 2000US$ for an infant. Having these conversations reminded us once again how fortunate we are, being able to take time off and to go on a trip like that. Lucky us!

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We spent the remainder of the afternoon at the lake-shore of Lake Michigan at one of Evanston's nice - but windy - beaches and at a local ALDI to do some basic grocery shopping. We avoided the German white wine called 'Landshut', but rather went for German beer to complement our purchases of Romanian and German beer from two days earlier. In a global economy it's easy to get stuff that reminds you of home. And it's even nicer when the favorites from home are complementing favorite foreign foods such as the tasty Mexican food (including re-fried beans) we were treated to tonight, not to mention the incredible amounts of Matt's chocolate chip cookies I was able to eat despite actually being quite full.

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And after three days of only living off WIFI connections, today our new SIM card arrived and we're now again fully connected to the digital world!

Posted by dreiumdiewelt 20:31 Archived in USA Tagged bike evanston amper glenview

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Good luck and may you have the best time ever :) P.S. Ursus Beer rulez!

by Adriana

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